53 West 19th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues
about $100 for two, with a few drinks, without tip
Arabella and I discussed dinner options and cravings one evening: I am Frenched out for the moment (her) and Can we keep it chill? (me). Tapas, an eating concept from the Basque Country, could be anything bite-sized on a small plate. It’s not French and it’s definitely the most laid-back way I can think of in terms of eating dinner, so to Boqueria we went. I am still reeling from my Catalan vacation and because I had lunch at the boqueria three times while I was in Barcelona, eating pintxos (pin-chos) was an easy pick.
The quail egg was fried and served on top of a sausage sliver and a crispy baguette. It needed a good drizzle of olive oil. I liked the idea of a date stuffed with almonds wrapped in bacon, but then again, I like anything with bacon. The squid was served with a handful of limp mixed greens; perhaps stewed chick peas could have made the dish more lively.
The consolation, however, was the service. The place got crowded as it got later but our bartender-server made sure she gave us her attention. She was very patient with the mixed crowd: one actually opened up his laptop at the bar and another kept screaming for a Syrah until she politely explained that he was in a Spanish bar. Men in suits kept bumping our backs with their obnoxious laptop murses, so she made us stay by comping a glass of white and a glass of sangria. Although the space is very sleek and the buzz infectious, the food at this Boqueria could be a little more inspired.